The following letter appeared in Monday's San Diego Union-Tribune. Unfortunately, due to the less-than-stellar integration between the print side and the electronic side, it's not available online.
I am currently deployed in northern Iraq, and would like to express my thanks to everyone who supports us and what we are fighting for.
For those, however, who oppose the actions taken on behalf of the Iraqi people, consider this: Not even a week into being in this country, I found myself trying to communicate with an Iraqi man, a husband and father of five children, who could only point to pictures in a book and use hand gestures to tell us about the rocket-propelled grenades and actual rockets that had been left only a few hundred feet from his dwelling, where his kids and numerous others liked to play.
The dwelling was an old shop-type building that his family had moved into due to its proximity to the army compound where this man, among others, was being held for belonging to the wrong political or religious party.
The difficulty in communicating with this man, to me a true hero, was not the result of a language barrier. It was because his tongue had been literally cut out by the same Iraqi soldiers who had dumped the munitions near his ï¿½house,ï¿½ just prior to releasing him because of our impending arrival.
Later that day I returned with a convoy and removed the ordnance so the kids could play without blowing themselves up.
So those of you who question the righteousness of this conflict might look to your children, or your friends' children, give thanks for your blessings, and pray that if you were in the same type of situation someone would have the courage to help you and not stay complacent.
Even within the heart of Iraq's "Sunni triangle" there are people hopeful for freedom from tyranny. Remember this next time you hear about how much they hate us.